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Topamax Use by Woman Can Cause an Increase in Births with Defects: Study

Filed April 10th, 2013 edlieber1

Australian researchers released a study that suggests women who take Topamax, a drug commonly taken by women to prevent migraines, are at an increased risk of having a child with birth defects.

Researchers found a statistically significant link between the use of Topamax while pregnant and the risk of having a baby born with hypospadias and brain maldevelopments, according to a press release about the study. Hypospadias is a condition in which the opening of the urethra is found on the underside of an infant’s penis. While the authors found their conclusion to be significant, they recommended that more research be conducted about Topamax.

Previous studies have also found a connection between Topamax and birth defects when infants were exposed to the medications prior to birth, the press release said. In 2011, the North American Antiepileptic Drug (AED) Pregnancy Registry produced research suggesting that infants exposed to Topamax before birth had a 1.4 percent risk of oral clefts. Infants who were not exposed to any antiepileptic medication only had a 0.07 percent risk of oral cleft.

The study was published in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne hoped to find whether there was a link between fetal malformations and use of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. Included in the study were the antiepileptic drugs Topamax (topiramate), Depakote and Tegretol. Researchers looked at data of 1,733 fetuses from 1,703 pregnancies. Of those fetuses, 147 were not exposed to any type of antiepileptic drug during pregnancy.


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